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Read or listen to this interview at the Biola University Center for Christian Thought website.


“I’m a Protestant who loves saints,” says Jessica Hooten Wilson. Why do we read and write saints’ lives? Hagiography is a long-practiced depiction of the holy and often wacky stories of saints and the wondrous elements of their lives as dedicated to God. Jessica Hooten Wilson identifies one of Flannery O’Connor’s primary goals in her unfinished novel Why Do the Heathen Rage? as attempting to write a saint’s life. And really, from one angle, a great deal of texts are trying to do this. In attempting to articulate the narrative of a saint’s life, we are exercising a spiritual imagination for the sake of understanding the fullest expression of Christ in merely human life.

What follows the suggestion of the descent and ascent of saintly lives is a rich conversation about martyrdom, iconography, what it means to understand a great or holy text, as well as an appreciation for the aesthetic side of spirituality.

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